Cowan's Ford


Because Beattie’s Ford lies beneath the waters of Lake Norman today, as do other fords noted in historic records, Cowan’s Ford serves as an accessible proxy for Beattie’s Ford today and the easiest means to cross from the east to the west side of the Catawba River at the south end of Lake Norman. Although access is restricted to the actual site of Cowan’s Ford because of its proximity to Cowans Ford Dam and McGuire Nuclear Station, two informative historical markers are nearby. The site of the Battle of Cowan’s Ford was on the north (upstream) side of the island in the Catawba River just below the dam.

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Cowan's Ford

Cowan's Ford was a a prominent ford on the upstream end of an island in the Catawba River. | Source: base map: detail from "A Map of North Carolina from the best authorities" 1794 by Harrison source: [View Additional File Details]

A view of Cowans Ford Island and the Cowans Ford Dam

From a visitors area along NC Hwy 73 next to the Catawba River, one can see Cowan's Ford Island. The actual ford and the site of the February 1781 battle are on the north side of the island. [View Additional File Details]

Historical Marker for Catawba River history

A historical marker in a visitor parking area along NC Hwy 73 at the Catawba River points out historic points of interest in the Catawba River valley. [View Additional File Details]

Cite this Page

Randell Jones (, “Cowan's Ford,” Overmountain Victory National Historic Trail, accessed February 28, 2020, http:/​/​bythewaywebf.​webfactional.​com/​omvt/​items/​show/​67.​
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